Irrigation season nears in Klamath Basin, but questions remain

Klamath Falls, Ore. – This has been a very busy week for water issues in the Klamath Basin, but there are still more questions than answers.

Irrigation season in the Klamath Basin normally gets underway April 1st.

But this year,  it’s unknown when water will begin flowing.

The Klamath Project normally gets about 390 thousand acre-feet of water.

Laura Williams of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation says the amount available this year will hinge in several factors. “We believe they’ll be in the area of 200 thousand acre-feet for the year.”

That shortage will trigger stronger demand for well water.

Congressman Greg Walden has secured over 10 million dollars to help with the cost of pumping that water.

But, it’s still unclear who will be in charge of that money and how it will be dispersed.

“Those authorities are being worked on very hard and heavy,” Williams said. “In Washington D.C., and also in our regional office in Sacramento.”

More water is being released from Upper Klamath Lake.

Williams explains that water users got word Thursday that unhealthy levels of microscopic fish parasites have been identified downstream. “What that triggered is up to 50 thousand acre feet being sent down the Klamath River for a dilution flow, so that that disease can get flushed out of the river.”

Water is already flowing down the ‘A’ canal to the Klamath Project.

Pacificorp set aside 10 thousand acre-feet of water to help charge and prepare the canals for water deliveries.


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